Teaching Tip Tuesday: How Students Spend Time in Classrooms


Tom Petty sings "the Waiting is the hardest part" and for so many things in life that is true. However, when we look at class time with students, that line might show an even harder truth.  
According to American anthropologist Philip Jackson, studies show that children in school spent 50% of their time waiting for something to happen.  While that number seems extremely high, we all are guilty to some degree of misusing valuable time 

So what are some ways to look at reducing the waiting? Here are a couple of areas to reflect on. 

Teacher Talk vs. Kid Talk

Ten minutes has been shown to be the amount of time people are able to focus on someone talking, and even less if they are not interested in the topic. Pay attention to how much of the talk was conversation—asking questions one-on-one or in a small group—and how much was lecture. 
Nobody likes a filibuster (except maybe whichever political party is in the minority but that's another story).  

My Choices vs. Their Choices

Research shows students are a lot happier and more engaged when they have choices in their classroom.  Whether the choices are big (what topic to research) or small (whether to read on the floor on in a chair), giving the students choices helps them take ownership of their learning. Reduce the time students are waiting for you to make all the decisions and give some of that responsibility to them. 




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